2014 $1.15 Silver Bells Wreath
This is the second Global forever stamp issued for the holiday season. (The previous one, #4814, was released in 2013) It paid the First-Class Mail International 1-ounce rate.
Silver bells have long been associated with the Christmas season. In 1950, Paramount Studios tasked songwriter Ray Evans and composer Jay Livingston with writing a hit Christmas song. The song would be featured in a movie starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell and it needed to be great.
Evans and Livingston saw a losing battle before them. All the popular Christmas songs had already been written. How could anyone make a new successful holiday tune? Then it hit them. A little silver bell on the office desk sparked an idea. Taking inspiration from street corner Santas and Salvation Army bell ringers, they would write a song for the season from a new angle.
Traditional Christmas songs seemed to always focus on Christmas in the country – sleigh bells in the snow, snowmen, mangers – what about the busy season in an urban setting? The New York City duo got to work writing about Christmastime in the city. The lyrics captured the hectic hustle and bustle of busy city-goers rushing about in preparation of the holidays, while the graceful waltz melody conveyed the warmth and joyousness of the season.
“Silver Bells” became the best-selling holiday single that year. The “new” Christmas song once destined to be a flop had become an instant success. Today, it remains a classic holiday favorite
The wreath of silver bells was created by Michael Owens and photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce.
$1.15 Silver Bells Wreath, issued to pay the one-ounce international rate
Issue Date: October 23, 2014
City: New York, NY, at the American Stamp Dealers Association National Postage Stamp Show
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Lithographed printing in sheets of 60 with six panes of 10 per sheet
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut
Global Forever Series
On January 28, 2013, the USPS issued the first stamp in its Global Forever Series. These stamps are used on international mail.
Up until the mid-to-late 1800s, mail sent to other countries was regulated by a number of different agreements that were binding only to signing members. Then in 1874, representatives from 22 nations met in Bern, Switzerland to discuss a better system, and to found the General Postal Union (later called the Universal Postal Union).
The Universal Postal Union revolutionized how mail was sent between countries. They decided that there should be a uniform rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world, that domestic and international mail should be treated equally, and that each country should keep all money collected for international postage. It also made sending international mail easier in another important way. Previously, people had to attach a stamp from each country their mail would pass through. This no longer was necessary. Participating countries also standardized postal rates and units of weight.
Another major development in the delivery of international mail came in 1920, with the establishment of international airmail. In the early years, airmail was flown between the US and Canada and Cuba. By late 1930, the US was delivering airmail to nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere. Service continued to expand to Europe and other parts of the world in the coming years.
In May 1977, airmail as a separate class of domestic mail ended when the USPS announced that First Class postage would provide the same or better service. And 30 years later, international airmail ended on May 14, 2007, though airmail stamps continued to be issued into 2012.
In October 2012, the USPS filed to change international mailing prices. Additionally, following the popularity of the domestic Forever stamps, first issued in 2007, they decided to start issuing Global Forever stamps. These new stamps would simplify international mail, by offering a single stamp for all international destinations.
Issued on January 28, 2013, the first Global Forever stamp had a face value of $1.10. The international rate stamp could be used on one-ounce letters sent overseas and two-ounce letters to Canada. Fittingly, this first stamp pictured a three-dimensional image of the Earth. The image was created by using satellite data and centers over the blue of the Atlantic Ocean, South America, and West Africa. To differentiate the classes of Forever stamps, the Global Series is a round stamp and has the word “GLOBAL” printed right on it. At least one Global Forever stamp has been issued every year since, except for 2015.